Today, we are making Furu. It is called Chinese fermented bean curd, also known as Chinese cheese. It is a popular ingredient that is widely used in many Chinese recipes. In this video, I will be making 2 different flavors, and walk you through all the little details about the process. It is going to be fun and not so difficult. Let’s get started.
Fermented Bean Curd (Fermented Tofu)
INGREDIENTS TO MAKE THE SPICY FERMENTED BEAN CURD
- Rinse the lotus leaves with warm water to clean the surface dust. Slice the lotus leaves thinly. Use a salad spinner to get rid of the moisture.
- Place the thinly sliced lotus leaves onto the steamer rack and make a fluffy bed.
- Cut the tofu into small cubes. Place the tofu cubes onto the lotus leaves. Leave some space in between. Dried bamboo leaves, dried banana leaves, or even clean parchment paper can be a substitution for. You can also ferment the tofu without the fluffy base, but then it is better not to use metal steamer because the tofu is so moist and it will be sitting in the container for days so there might be some chemical reaction going.
- Cover the tofu and let it sit in a warm place. Depends on the environment and the temperature, the fermenting process could take anywhere between 3 days to 2 weeks. My room temperature is 75 F, 24 C. It took 4 days.
- When you see some different light color spots (light orange, light yellow, light pink, light gray) appearing or some white fluffy mycelium growing, you should notice a strong funky smell. At this point, the tofu is very slimy and soft. You can test by touching it with your finger. If it is spreadable like cream cheese that means you are good to go.
Make the Spicy Oil Cured Fermented Bean Curd (红油腐乳)
- In a cast-iron skillet, add following spices: 1/4 tsp of black peppercorn, 1/4 tsp of white peppercorn, 1/4 tsp of fennel seeds, 2 pieces of clove, 1 piece of bay leaf, 1 piece of star anise, 1 small stick of cinnamon, 1/2 of a black cardamon, 1 slice of dried sand ginger. Toast them on low heat for 2-3 minutes.
- Blend the spices as fine as possible. The tofu is going to be so soft. If the spicy mix is rough, it will ruin the texture.
- Mix the spice powder with 1/2 cup of chili powder, and 2 tbsp of salt.
- Boil the glass jars for 5 minutes to kill the bacteria. Put them into a 180 F oven upside down for 15 minutes. Just to dry them completely. Take them out and you are ready to put the tofu in.
- Take 1 piece of the tofu. Remove any attaching lotus leaves. Gently put it into the spice mix. Coat all the surface evenly. Lightly shake off any excess spices. Put it in the jar.
- We will heat some oil. Any vegetable oil will work. I am using peanut oil. Do not let the temperature go above the smoke point. Or else it will develop some burn oil flavor which can affect the final taste.
- Peanut oil smoke point is 450 F. I am just gonna let it go up to 380 F. Heating the oil is to help to remove the raw oil taste. Turn off the heat. Cover the lid. Let it cool down to room temperature.
- Pour the room temperature oil into the jar. I put a spoon in between so the oil doesn’t hit the tofu directly or else the impact force will break the tofu.
- Make sure all the tofu is covered by the oil. You do want to leave about 1/2 inch of space between the oil and the top of the jar because it could overflow as the days go by.
- Wait for another week and you can enjoy some nice delicious Chinese fermented tofu. Store it in the fridge. It will last for about 6 months.
Make the Non-spicy Fermented Bean Curd (卤水白腐乳)
- In a clean saucepot, add the following ingredients: 1 piece of star anise, 1 piece of cinnamon stick, 1 piece of bay leaf, 1 tsp of Sichuan peppercorns, 2.5 tbsp of salt, 1 tsp of sugar, and 1 cup + 3/4 cups of water.
- Cover the lid and bring it to a boil. Let it simmer for a couple of minutes and turn off the heat. we have to wait for it to cool down to room temperature. Sieve out all the spices and wait for it to cool down to room temperature.
- Place the tofu into the jar. Pour in the room temperature spice brine. Again, use a spoon to protect the tofu from breaking apart by the impact force.
- Same as before, wait for another week and they are ready to be used. Store it in the fridge. It will last for about 6 months.